Spring is Finally Here!

Yesterday I headed up to Bellingham, Washington, about 90 minutes north of my home. I was riding up with Chris Tremonte for the North Shore Circuit Race (cycling). We had both decided that the nearly 3000 feet of elevation gain over a 40 mile course would give us a better shot of getting away from the pack than returning to Dung, where three weeks ago we took advantage of the fact that nobody knew us.

About 30 minutes after leaving my house we ran into a blizzard. I called a friend who was about 20 miles ahead of us, and found out that it was no longer snowing up North – we kept on our route. Sure enough, the snow turned to rain, and stayed that way until about five miles from the race site.

Below are some pictures of the registration area.

2008-3-29_SpringSnow_NCAAs 011 2008-3-29_SpringSnow_NCAAs 016

Needless to say, the race was canceled.

So what do you do 80 miles from how in an end-of-March snow storm?

Snowball fight! (Chris really likes throwing snowballs. The video finally ends when he squarely lands a crotch shot – owe!)

After that we went to the local pool where I bummed goggles from the lost-and-found and wore Chris’s running shorts (yeah, I violated my own rule, but the lifeguards insisted I wear something). We did a drill-focus set* (actually five 500 yard drill sets), which was a great change of pace from the typical bread and butter sets I’ve been doing the past few weeks.

Next, we headed into downtown Bellingham and went on the wettest, coldest 90 min run I’ve ever done. I’m pretty sure 34 and snowing is the most miserable conditions that exist for being outside (I’m sure anyone in the Northeast would contest that, which is why I got out of New York the moment I graduated.) At one point we were completely turned around (I’ve never spent any time in Bellingham, and Chris is no expert either), so I set my Garmin Forerunner 305 to point us in the right direction (it has this cool "return to start" function that shows a dotted line of where you’ve been, and an arrow, compass, and distance reading that will tell you which way to go and how long if you’d like to find your car again.) I got a bearing that was 180 degrees off from where we thought we needed to go, but shortly after turning around the wet conditions finally got the best of my poor watch. About 50 random beeping noises and some crazy screen flashing, my Garmin Forerunner 305 died. Now, the manual says that it is water resistant, and I think it originally was, but it’s had a hard life being my training partner (falls from my bike at 25 mph, accidental trips into the shower [also how I killed my cell phone], and a winter of sitting on the handlebars of my rain bike in Seattle). Still, Garmin is taking it back to fix under warrantee, which is awesome. Better yet, the new Forerunner 405 is out, and it is fully waterproof, much smaller, and capable of joining me on my open water swims. I can’t wait to get one.

Before finally heading back to Seattle, we made one last stop at Bandito’s Burritos. Chris had spent the 90 minute drive north talking about this place, and – after eating a burrito the size of my head (but not my ego) – I can see why. It was phenomenal, but what really made the meal, was a selection of 12 different homemade salsas. The salsa had names like "texas five star" (a standard hot tomato), "Hawaiian ginger" (self-explanatory, but delicious), and "Kermit’s last Stand" (which had something green and enough kick to kill a frog).

And that was just the first half of the day.

*the swim set:

3×200 Swim / Kick / Pull by 200 @ 10s rest

8×50 variable (by 25s: fast/easy, Easy/fast, all easy, all fast, two times around) @ 10-15s rest

10×50 kick (max effort) @ 1:15 (40-45s rest)

500 build by 100, recovery to tempo. Start immediately after kick set.

4×125 IM @ 15s rest (easy, drill if you need to, 50 free, 25 of the other strokes)

20×25 drill (R arm, L arm, 6 and 6, 6/3/6, swim)**

10×50 negative split, underkick / overkick by 25 (negative split by adding a kick, not by adding effort)

Warm Down b/w 100 and 200 yards.

**6 and 6 is a six kick pause between strokes, so you kick for six kicks on your right side, then take a stroke and kick for six on your left. 6/3/6 is the same thing with three strokes between pauses.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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  1. Personally 34 and snowing is probably the worst. anything in the 30’s and attempting to snow is just icky.

    way to distinguish b/w the size of your ego and your head. I hope for your sake you meant you head was bigger. :-p

  2. what is this set gibberish? you swimmers confuse the crap out of me.

    i did some running in 20 degrees and snow this year, it was actually pretty fun. but these “runs” were the 1.5 miles back and forth to the gym, so the stress level was pretty low and the fun level was high.

    plus tahoe is prettier than WASHINGTON.

  3. And that is why you’re a pro and I’m not. 34 and snowing is grounds for me to either run indoors or if that’s not possible, SKIP!

    Ugh, that just sounds downright awful. Then to get turned around…

    I was in Omaha, NE in February and thought I’d run over to the gym, which was about 3/4 mile away from my hotel. Granted, it was about 20 degrees and just gray…it was the worst 3/4 miles I’ve ever run. The cold hurt my chest so much! Pure agony. Good on you.

    I like the swim set. I’ll have to give it a shot…

  4. favorite swim event’s the 400IM, huh? my MAN! that’s my event, solely because i have no speed, but do have a fair share of strength and endurance. my motto is: grind those old babes down. so i pretty much do grinder events.
    …..which leads me to today. my knee’s being hurty so i decided i’d just swim today. i wrote down your 5×500 (and then some) deal and tried most of it, so had you on my mind. i didn’t do the kicks because i didn’t have fins with me and i go so slowly otherwise that i think i’m wasting time and, and, and, and then i thought you’d be groaning the following: what!?!?!?!?! are you such a wimp/weenie/wuss that you can’t function without wimp/weenie/wuss toys? and so on. well, as it turns out, i’ve given up on fins and pull buoys (except for today). but i was GREAT on the under-over kick set. i was best at and most pleased with the descending 500.
    i thought the set was fine and not overly demanding, but somewhat. made a couple of stops on the way home, ate, and….died. i was fried. turns out i’m getting sick/a cold. rest of pm: massive intakes of fluids, sedentary lifestyle, pop a 1000mg vitamin C every 3-4 hours.
    in short: thanks for the great workout. i’m doing it again.

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